As a non-Mumbaikaar who happens to be a part-Hyderabadi and a part-Bangalorean, I found it a bit difficult to adjust to Mumbai initially. To speak the truth, I lived like a pampered princess in Bangalore :) Also, most of my social circle was in Bangalore so when I quit my old job and shifted to Mumbai, I couldn't help complaining a lot in the first few months. And then, 'Mumbai' happened... After you get through the cribbing, complaining and irritable phase, this is what Mumbai does to you:
1. You stop considering distance and time of the day as hindrances for travelling within the city. Seriously, name any time of the day or night: 11.00 / 12.00 / 3.00 / 5.00, you have travel options and places where you can hang out. I used to believe that the night life in Mumbai is overrated till I realized that I am so used to it now that I take it for granted! About the distance, yeah, Mumbai has a way of making you get off your lazy ass. You're still new to Mumbai and are overwhelmed by the distance factor? Don't worry, give it a year and you'll learn :)
2. You realize that there are a LOT of people in this world other than you :) I don't think I will hear any contradictions from anyone who has been to Mumbai on this one. If you even have the slightest hesitation, you should take the Mumbai metro with me next time... I actually think the crowds in Mumbai are addictive. Even though I crib about them all the time, I think I'll feel empty if I suddenly settle in a 'quiet' and 'secluded' place now.
3. At one point, you understand that money will never be enough. No matter how 'rich' you are, there will always be lots of people who are richer than you. Unless of course, you're someone like Ambani or Amitabh Bachchan. This is one thing which I like about Mumbai: I don't notice much of class privilege being exhibited. Probably due to the pearl of wisdom which I just quoted here: However rich you are, you are not rich enough. Money can't buy everything, and space in Mumbai is one of the things which even a hell lot of money can't buy!!
4. You learn how beauty is best meant to be appreciated: From a distance and when it is veiled :) Mumbai has one of the most beautiful landing sights from a plane among all the Indian cities, because of the sea during the day and the lights during night. But we know the un-prettiness that Mumbai actually is if you get closer. Really, Mumbai is at it's beautiful best at night...when it is fully lit up...when you can't see the dust and the slums. All the best roads in Mumbai are best because they are elevated, so that you can't look down and see the chaos around. Marine drive is pretty when you're driving on the road; the moment you get closer, you see all the crap people have thrown around :( So you learn to stop scrutinizing beauty closely, so that you appreciate the finer nuances of life...
5. You are simply not satisfied by any street markets you visit outside Mumbai because you know you get better and cheaper stuff here. Mumbai street markets are the best!! The realization dawned on me when I shopped in Goan markets and then shopped in Hill Road again :)
6. You notice that autos (and taxis) have meters which are actually used to bill customers :D Speaking as someone who stayed in Bangalore for 3 + years, this one is definitely a pleasant surprise.
I know all this sounds very rosy. I know what you are thinking: the dust, the pollution, the claustrophobia, the humidity, the sweat, the rains and it goes on and on and on. Yeah, yeah I get it. I am with you. But look at the brighter side. Here are some things which we non-Mumbaikaars who crib about Mumbai take for granted:
Travel options: Seriously, if you keep comfort factor aside, Mumbai has a whole lot of options to travel at any time. Mumbai is one city where you don't have to own a car to go out at 2.00 a.m. in the night without much hesitation.
Water: Again, only someone who stayed in Hyderabad and Bangalore for quite a few years will appreciate the value of access to soft water for drinking and domestic use :)
No power cut :) :) Should I say more? ***Happy dance***
Wish you a very pleasant stay in Mumbai!!